|Literal meaning||Double designated|
Shuanggui (approximately pronounced SHWONG-GWEI) is an internal disciplinary process conducted by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China – and its lower-level affiliates – on members of the Party who are suspected of "violations of discipline," a charge which usually refers to corruption but can occasionally carry other connotations as well. The Shuanggui process is conducted in secret, in a system which is separate from ordinary Chinese law enforcement processes. Generally subjects are isolated from any form of legal counsel or even family visits during the process.
At the time the party member is informed of their Shuanggui, the party disciplinary agencies have often already found enough evidence behind the scenes to establish guilt. As such, being taken to Shuanggui is usually taken as an indictment with presumed guilt despite party regulations which stipulate a presumption of innocence. Party investigators often turn the suspect over to the formal system of prosecution, that is, the procuratorate, if the party member is deemed to be guilty, which is the case the vast majority of the time. The system has been described variously as an effective way to root out corruption but also as depriving its subjects of basic legal rights. There have been some reports of Shuanggui subjects being tortured to make forced confessions.
The term "Shuanggui" comes from "at an appointed time and place": as "shuang" means double, "gui" means appointed, or designated. The term is an abbreviation of codified disciplinary procedures inside the Party which states that a member must "be present at a designated time and designated location", hence the 'double designated', "...to provide explanations on issues related to an ongoing case." The term in Chinese may also used as a passive voice form, for example, someone could be "shuanggui'd".
Administrative Supervision Law Article 20 (3) also provides that "personnel under investigation shall not be detained in any manner". However, in many cases, the personnel may still be detained or even be hurt. On 9 April 2013, Yu Qiyi, a state-owned enterprise cadre, was killed during the shuanggui process.
The legal foundation of the shuanggui system is a matter of some controversy and dispute. Both the Chinese Communist Party discipline inspection organs cases inspection regulations Article 28 (3) and the Administrative Supervision Law of the People's Republic of China Article 20 (3) provide that "Order personnel under investigation for suspicion of violating administrative disciplines to make explanations of the matters under investigation at an appointed time and place; however, personnel under investigation shall not be detained in any manner".
The process of shuanggui has been shrouded in secrecy for many decades. In recent years much more light has been shed on the internal workings of the shuanggui system, both by media inside China and by the foreign press.
When Party members are removed from their places of work for shuanggui, they are typically held in isolation. They have no access to legal counsel, and are usually not allowed to have contact with their families. Every year, several thousand Party members are believed to be secretly detained for weeks and months under the system. Party officials say that nearly 90 percent of "major corruption cases" are cracked through the use of shuanggui.
In 2013 anti-corruption officials investigated 173,000 cases of corruption using shuanggui. Three people died during interrogations. In one case, six Party interrogators who tortured state engineer Yu Qiyi to death, were sentenced to prison.
In early 2014 Zhou Wangyan provided a detailed description of his time under shuanggui. He told the Associated Press that he had been severely tortured during interrogation, in an effort to have him confess to bribery that he says he did not engage in.
Communist Party interrogators forced his legs apart until his left thigh bone snapped with a loud "ka-cha" noise. Zhou said that he was deprived of sleep and food, nearly drowned, whipped with wires, and forced to consume feces. Other party officials told the Associated Press that they were "turned into human punching bags, strung up by the wrists from high windows, or dragged along the floor, face down, by their feet."
The actions taken against those in the custody of the Shuanggui system are done in order to extract confessions. There are no bodies of oversight inside shuanggui facilities, however, allowing the Party to "abuse its own members in its own secret jails with impunity." Police who receive complaints of torturous and abusive shuanggui procedures are not allowed to investigate them.
A list of notable officials or Party cadres who have been subjected to shuanggui based on accusations of corruption or violations of Communist Party discipline:
- Jacobs, Andrew (June 14, 2012). "Accused Chinese Party Members Face Harsh Discipline". The New York Times.
- Original in Chinese: 要求有關人員在規定的時間、地點就案件所涉及的問題作出說明
- Chapter IV: Supervisory Organs’ Jurisdiction
- Is intra-Party interrogation a shield or a trap? Global Times 29 May 2013
- Wong, Gillian. "In China, Brutality Yields Confessions of Graft." The Associated Press. March 10, 2014.